In this instalment of his comprehensive series examining every aspect of wavesailing, Jem Hall adds a bit of slide to your frontside top turn.
Winter is coming, and while the unenlightened masses moan about the cold and prepare to hibernate in their centrally heated homes, for us wannabe wavesailors it’s truly a time for celebration as we relish the prospect of feasting on the succulent swells that this season brings to our fair shores.
To make sure you make the most of them, let’s get you freeing up those top turns and getting acquainted with some sweet lip-slides. This is a great move, and definitely one of my favourites as it really lets you get to know both the wave and your board much better. Plus of course it looks and feels amazing. In cross-onshore conditions it’s often a must to depower the sail as you head back towards the wind and then reconnect with the wave before you take the usual route into another backside turn to set you up to go frontside again.
The move’s all about counterbalance, as you’re pushing the tail out with the back leg to get the slide, but pulling down and leaning forward to get some purchase on the vee under your mastfoot. Although you’re sliding over your back foot, the lip-slide will help you appreciate that you must initiate your top turn off your front foot so as to use your whole rail, and not just slide out and go out the back of the wave with all your weight over the back foot.
If you’re wanting to get all funky and new-school then you can take your slide into a taka, where you slide out and aim to do an upwind 360 as you pivot over the nose of the board. When they are good you stay in the wave, when they’re not so good you go out the back, and when they’re ugly you get to wear the sail!
Now, as you all know I’m not much of a salesman and don’t promote buying new products all that much, but I’ll give it a go here. The new-school multi-finned boards with their wide noses, relatively narrow tails and loose slashy turning abilities really assist you in not only releasing the tail but also controlling this slide, as with fins in proximity to the rails you have the grip needed to bring it all back on track. These boards also allow you to initiate tight turns off the back foot and take advantage of this in smaller waves and some of the not so pristine onshore conditions we have here in the UK, while of course fully firing in ripping cross to cross-off winds as well. Best get shopping then!
I will revert to my trusted formula for this move:
Who? Riders who are controlling dynamic top turns and want to spice it up a bit.
Where? On fairly steep clean waves or on sections that aren’t too critical and threatening. You can also do it off some white water sections too.
When? As for all moves do it when you’re fresh in your first hour of sailing after getting a couple of waves under your belt to warm up. Have a session on it of 30 minutes and no more, and do one or two on every wave!
Why? The ability to control different types of turns at the lip of the wave is paramount to adding fluidity and style to your riding.
What? A controlled spin-out at the top of the wave as you perform a top turn, which is then pulled back on track.
How? Let’s go to that now…